Boniface Mwangi Narrates Agonizing Ordeal in Police Cell

  • Hands resting on jail bars at a police station.
    Hands resting on jail bars at a police station.
  • Activist Boniface Mwangi, on Wednesday, July 8, opened up on his tortorous ordeal after he was arrested during the Saba Saba protests a day earlier.

    He vividly described the state of the police cells at the Central Police Station, painting a picture of an establishment only fit for animals.

    "It’s a corridor, with separate rooms for males and females and very old, dirty, broken toilets at the very end. The police take away one shoe from every inmate, and to use the toilet you have to borrow a shoe from a fellow inmate or step on the wet floor. 

    "With no seats, you sit on the cold floor and there’s a space barricaded with metal bars, at the very top of the room, to allow in some air. While l was in the cells, food was served in small bowls, that the server was sliding into every cell. You’re basically fed like dogs, housed worse than dogs, and it’s very dehumanizing," he disclosed.

    Boniface Mwangi pictured at Central Police Police Station on July 7, 2020.
    Boniface Mwangi pictured at Central Police Police Station on July 7, 2020.

    Despite his latest run-in with the police, the activist claimed that for the first time he actually felt sorry for the police arguing that the entire police service system was designed against them from the very beginning.

    The Ukweli Party leader, explained the origins of Kenya's Police service stating that the colonial government, in a 1942 report, revealed that evidence indicated illiterate Africans made better policemen than the literate ones. This allegedly resulted in a policy of recruiting the less educated.

    He further explained that the colonial penal code, still in practice to date, was designed to put the 'natives' in place, and the laws were written to criminalise poverty and minimize the movement of poor people from their farms, or shanties, to the white or collaborator neighborhoods. 
    The activist disclosed that for the first time he actually empathized with the police officers whom he said were being forced to adhere to a system that was rigged to fail the people they are supposed to protect.

    He challenged Kenyans to propose ways to protect police officers who disregard unlawful orders, "How can we make the cells habitable and not cages for savages?" he stated.

    The Saba Saba protests of July 7, 2020, resulted in the arrest of 58 people who were then held at different police stations across Nairobi.

    Watch the Saba Saba protests below: